Online retailer ASOS is the latest brand to join high-street stores Marks and Spencer, Next, and H&M in stopping the sale of angora products after a video exposing the cruelty that rabbits suffer went viral online.
The footage released by animal rights organisation PETA shows workers in Chinese factories ripping the fur from the bodies of screeching rabbits.
China is currently responsible for 90 per cent of the world’s angora wool supply.
Investigators claim to have witnessed animals being abused at the ten different angora farms they visited.
At half of the sites the extreme practice of live plucking was used to remove rabbits’ fur.
The footage shows how white rabbits are held by their necks against wooden boards while their fur is hand-plucked, leaving the bare animals with angry, red skin.
Workers pluck rather than shear the fur because the longer, plucked hair sells for more than double the £22-£28 per kilogram that cut hair fetches.
Warmer than sheep’s wool and cheaper than cashmere, angora fur is thought to be harvested from over 50 million rabbits on farms in China, producing more than 4,000 tonnes of the soft fur a year.
For plucking to not cause the rabbits pain, loose fur must be removed after two weeks.
According to PETA spokesman Ben Williamson the animals also suffer from their cages and are “surrounded by their own waste.”
“After their fur is yanked out, the gentle, sensitive rabbits are left in shock, able only to lie motionless inside their tiny, filthy cages,” he said.
He added: “The cages offer little protection from the elements”.
“They are forced to spend their entire miserable lives standing on the thin cage wires that constantly cut into their sensitive footpads, never having a chance to dig, jump or run around.”
By deciding to remove all angora products from its international websites and shelves “ASOS has done the right thing for animals and consumers," Mimi Bekhechi of PETA UK told The Daily Mail.
A spokesman from the company said: “ASOS firmly believes it is not acceptable for animals to suffer in the name of fashion or cosmetics. ASOS is a member of the Fur Free Alliance of retailers and recognises that the sourcing of angora and other rabbit hair products causes distress to animals.
“As such, we will remove all ASOS and third party branded product that fails to meet the policy and no new orders will be raised containing angora or other rabbit hair."
Customers who have bought any products containing angora are entitled to a full refund.
PETA, which is leading the boycott, has not released the names of the farms to ensure its sources are protected.
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